Dumb and Dumberer
review by Elias Savada, 20 June 2003

The only thing halfway imaginative about this stillborn prequel to the 1994 hit starring Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas) and Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunne) as a pair of blithering goofballs is the title itself. Unfortunately, it also allows for some amusing, ungrammatical word play when it comes to an appropriate critical response. It's the dumberest movie I've ever seen! or I'm not sure what makes me maderer—that they made this movie at all or that they expect people to enjoy it. Etceteraer, etceteraer. Once you suffer through all eighty-two minutes of Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd you'll have had too much time to recall other similar misguided executive decisions that greenlit such notoriously unpleasant prequels as The Flintstone in Viva Rock Vegas and Butch and Sundance: the Early Days. This one ranks right down there with the worst of them.

Under makeup, Eric Christian Olsen (Harry) and Derek Richardson (Lloyd) may bear a passing resemblance to their older character selves. However, it's screenwriters Robert Brener and Troy Miller who appear most to blame. The former, who canned the storyline, for thinking further examination of the über-oblivious odd couple's formative high school years (particularly 1986) was worth cinematic pre-examination. Miller, previously responsible for the innocuous Jack Frost, directs the material with all the blandness of white toast. Make that white bread. Make that stale white bread. Where are the Farrelly Brothers when they are so desperately needed? Dumb and Dumberer marks Brener's first film credit, and, with luck, his last.

For this year's spread in the blue plate sandwich special (Lauren Holly was the vaguely triangular objet d'affection in the first film), shapely newcomer Rachel Nichols made a dubious choice to be cast as hot-pants beauty Jessica caught between the two moronic beasts. Hey, she's young. She'll rebound. Elizabeth Berkley made a similar mistake with Showgirls and she's gone on to occasionally better roles. Other actors -- especially any who read the script and still signed on -- fare worse (but hopefully a few dollars richer), including American Pie's Eugene Levy and Saturday Night Live alum Cheri Oteri as the mustachioed, conniving Providence Hill H.S. Principal Collins and Ms. Heller, a lower brow, higher education "lunch lady," whose sluttish, extrasexular activities border, like the rest of the film, on the ridiculous. Mimi Rogers pops Harry out of her womb when the film opens in 1969 and provides some deadpan sensuality in her fleeting moments on screen, while Luis Guzmán, as the school's janitor, cleans up the oversized mustard and ketchup notes left by his son, Lloyd. Full House's Bob Saget has a small role as Jessica's militant dad, a compulsive clean freak who misreads (and obviously mis-smells) a bathroom smeared with melted Hershey's chocolate (which seems to offer way too much of a mess for such a small bar) for something more excremental.

The film covers some of the expected back stories, including the all-important how Lloyd's front tooth gets broken! Wow, that's easily worth the price of admission for the two Harry and Lloyd fans (coincidentally named Harry and Lloyd) waiting in line since the film opened. Actually, they're still queued up the last time I looked. Dumb and Dumberer also wanders into a ludicrous plot about stealing $10,000 by creating a bogus special needs class faster than you can say pop-tart. The boys, recruited for their obvious affinity for the lower rung of the educational ladder, become misleaders, gathering classmates from among the school's refuse. School bully Turk (Eldon Henson, in a role similar to the one he played in Manic), skateboard victim Toby (Josh Braaten), his punk girlfriend Terri (Teal Redmann), football casualty Carl (William Lee Scott), push-me-pull-me school mascot Lewis (Holes star Shia LeBeouf), and Ching Chong (Michelle Krusiec), a make-believe foreign exchange student, "study" together in the school's utility shed. Payback against the principal for his scheming arrives in the form of a Thanksgiving Day float miraculously assembled overnight by the class of ne'er-do-wells.

There are attempts at humor involving food, flatulence, slurpies (a.k.a. slushies), exploding gas stations, and enough lame double entendres to choke a dead horse. One travesty of a joke follows another. It's all rather depressingly unfunny (for an idea that had a ton of potential), shellacked in a low-budget veneer and unimpressive camerawork by Anthony Richmond. This isn't only one of the dumberest films I've ever seen, it's a miscarriage.

Directed by:
Troy Miller

Eric Christian Olsen
Derek Richardson
Rachel Nichols
Cheri Oteri
Luis GuzmánElden Henson
William Lee Scott
Mimi Rogers
Eugene Levy

Written by:
Robert Brener
Troy Miller

PG-13 - Parents
Strongly Cautioned.
Some material may
be inappropriate for
children under 13.







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